Missouri lawmakers make push for health care bill

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COLUMBIA- Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport and Sen. Caleb Rowden, R- Columbia met with dozens of Mid-Missouri parents and children to discuss a healthcare bill.

Basye introduced HB 1011 in February, which would call for providing more insured medical and rehabilitative services for people living in the state with developmental disabilities.

Basye worked on the initial language with Sen. Paul Wieland, R- Imperial. The bill had one hearing in the house, but was never voted on. 

“I think it’s a worthwhile cause to help people who truly need it, and we learned a lot in that process,” Basye said. “We’re going to try to work with all those entities and make a better product and see what we can come up with.”

Bayse said this bill builds off of HB 1311 passed into law in 2010. This law allows only Missourians diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder to receive insured therapy services.  

“Children with other disabilities like down syndrome, CP and a large array don’t get the therapies they need because the cost is so high,” Robyn Schelp, one Columbia resident involved with MO Disability Empowerment, said. “We’re just trying to get insurance to cover these therapies for all disabilities across the board.”

Schelp, who has one son with a genetic disorder, said therapies cost around $100 per session, and some families who receive treatment pay for three of four sessions a week without insurance.  

“Therapies give our kids what they need to be able to function and survive,” Schelp said. “Without these therapies a lot of them won’t lean these skills so they can be independent.”

Schelp said the costs tied to the bill could be the biggest concern in moving the bill forward.

“It really won’t add a lot to the average person’s insurance, but for the state of Missouri, because they insure so many different people, it has a high fiscal cost for the state,” Schelp said.

Basye said he wants to be careful with the insurance rates that may increase.

The Missouri speaker of the house has allowed a subcommittee for the bill. The committee currently has four Republicans, but no democratic seats have been filled yet.

Basye hopes the subcommittee will form and hold a hearing for the bill by August.